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ATPM 14.04
April 2008




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by Robert Paul Leitao,

Welcome to the April issue of About This Particular Macintosh! In this month’s Welcome, we highlight the release of Apple TV, Take 2. This becomes unofficially our “Take 2” issue. Please take two issues of ATPM and pass one along to a friend or Mac-friendly family member. Our efficient digital distribution scheme saves trees and save you time in finding the best Apple news, views, and reviews prepared in our unique style and easy-to-read format.

Apple TV, Take 2

A couple of weeks ago, the writer of this column purchased an Apple TV, Take 2. Intrigued by the product description and owner reports, he plunked down the $329 price of admission for enjoyment of the 160 GB model. On the way home from the Apple Store and with one of his teenagers in tow, he stopped at a local electronics store thinking he needed a new home theater system to accompany his new Apple TV. Arriving at home, it was the last he saw of the just purchased items.

One teenager gingerly carried the boxes in the house while another quickly found the power drill the writer had given up for lost a few months earlier. Cables were seen everywhere in the family TV room, and whirring sounds were heard outside the room as another teenager joined the installation crew. Three hours later, the same room was filled with the sounds of laughter. YouTube on a big screen was the cause of the merriment. Since installing the new Internet-connected music and movie playback device, the writer’s home life has not been the same. Movies, music, and amateur video are streaming into his TV room and through the now all-important center channel almost non-stop. The writer reports his general happiness with the device: his kids have finally learned how to share a remote, he’s canceling the family’s NetFlix membership, and his teens are buying the content on their own iTunes accounts. Doing the finishing work on the holes made by teens with a power drill is his only remaining chore.

iPhone, Take 2

At press time, the Mac Web is abuzz with stories of Apple’s plans for the manufacture and release of a 3G iPhone. Not satisfied with the success of the current version of Apple’s combination of a video iPod and phone, it’s as if life has come to a halt for thousands of obsessed fans pending the release of an update. Few times in recent history have so many people been interested in searching through otherwise obscure and arcane FCC filings for hints about approval of a product. Meanwhile, the millions who are already enjoying their iPhones view this preoccupation with amusement. It’s not as if the current iPhone or the next iteration will be the last iPhone most of us will buy. Two years from purchase passes quickly no matter the iPhone in hand. It’s waiting on the expiration of a non-iPhone contract that seems to take forever.

2 Take iPhones Too Many Times

Two Apple retail store employees from the Rockingham Park store in Salem, New Hampshire have been arrested on charges of stealing 332 Apple iPhones. This is grand theft by any measure and solves a smidgen of the continuing “missing iPhone” mystery.

2 Tunes Cents For Every Dollar Spent

The US dollar’s value has reached a nadir in relation to many world currencies. The devaluation of the greenback has caused an uptick in domestic prices and is listed as a primary concern among economists in the discussions and continuing debate about interest rates and economic policy. But there’s one New Economy goods trading instrument that is maintaining its popularity and value: the iTunes gift card. It’s available in a variety of denominations and at any number of local retail outlets.

With the Juniper Visa Card with iTunes Rewards program available through the Apple Web site, consumers can earn two cents toward iTunes gifts cards in $25 denominations for every dollar spent through Apple’s own retail channels. The rebate is one cent per dollar spent on all other purchases. A note of caution: loading up the card with every monthly automatic payment to quench a thirst for iTunes currency while also using it for every day expenses can create a liquidity crisis of its own, as the writer of this column discovered when the fat monthly bills eventually arrived. Still, with a bag full of iTunes gift cards to accompany his new Apple TV, there’s no shortfall in entertainment content in his home. He’s holding some of his iTunes currency position in reserve for the iTunes iPhone software store for strategic gaming investments to put his iPhone’s accelerometer through its paces. It’s a form of currency that may hold its value and can be used as a hedge against the need to venture out to find music and movies at bricks-and-mortar retail stores.

AirPort Express, Take 2

Apple has put its AirPort Express wireless device on the fast track with an upgrade to the 802.11n standard. Able to handle up to ten simultaneous users, the AirPort Express adds AirTunes functionality to your wireless network, and it may also be useful in extending the range and strength of your wireless network from the AirPort hub to the location of your Apple’s TV. Upgrading the AirPort Express to the 802.11n standard may seem like a minor change, but for those buying or renting content via of iTunes, the upgrade brings all of Apple’s current wireless networking gear up to the faster 802.11n speed.

Blu-ray Dismay

Sony’s Blu-ray technology has won the HD content format war, but Apple appears to have a bystander in the outcome. Blu-ray drives are not currently available from Apple. As the premier manufacturer of personal computers for the content creation industries, it’s troubling to some that Apple hasn’t quickly added Blu-ray drives to its Macintosh computers even as a BTO option. We’re hopeful that the Blu-ray dismay will be resolved by this May and in time for reporting the news in our next issue.

Our April issue includes:

Bloggable: Shallow Depth of Field

Wes Meltzer considers the iPhone and the various discussions on what we should possibly expect at the SDK finish line. There’s also plenty of opinions about background applications. This, and more, in Bloggable.

MacMuser: Chips With Everything

Whether it’s food or software, Mark Tennent knows what he likes, and what he doesn’t like.

MacMuser: Confused.con

Mark Tennent shares some punditry about DRM.

FileMaking: Getting Relational

This month, Charles Ross discusses relational databases.

Desktop Pictures: From ATPM Readers

Several ATPM readers provided this month’s photos featuring a Caribbean sunset, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Indonesia, Romania, and more.

Cartoon: Cortland

Back in meatspace, Todd turns the tables on the enemy with a reprogrammed Lisa. Cortland and Angela arrive safely from the Mudrix, but Cortland has paid a heavy price.

Review: The Book of Wireless, 2nd Edition

Tom Bridge spends some time with a book intended to help you master the magic of Wi-Fi.

Review: Newer Technology iPhone Accessories Roundup

Newer Technology recently introduced a nice-looking array of iPhone accessory products. While one received the reviewer’s accolades, the others fell somewhat short of expectations.

Review: PhotoAcute Studio 2.77

PhotoAcute Studio might be an invaluable tool for improving noise, geometry, and aberrations, but only under certain not-so-common circumstances.

Review: Take Control of Permissions in Leopard

“If your Mac has multiple users, sooner or later you’ll need to know how permissions work.”

Review: Wikipedia: The Missing Manual

Wikipedia: The Missing Manual fills in the gaps, just like you knew it would.

Also in This Series

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